"Women are often told by friends or family that they should leave the relationship, or get a restraining order, or do this or do that. But that’s not always helpful."—Adrienne LaMar
by Susan Bonne
Mobilizing to End Domestic Violence in the African-American Community:
A Contract for Change
ark your calendars now for IDVAAC’s annual conference 2007, which promises to be a powerful, informative, and inspiring national event. Speakers and panelists include key leaders in the domestic violence and civil rights movements, as well as experts from related fields, with an agenda that will illuminate strategies for confronting violence and related challenges facing the African-American community. The conference will be March 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, Calif.
Setting the stage for the conference, Gail Wyatt, Ph.D. will deliver the keynote address, examining how grassroots efforts across the nation are igniting movement toward recommitment and mobilization among African Americans. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at UCLA and associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute, Wyatt has spoken and written extensively on violence against women.
Day 1 also includes a panel on the history of grassroots organizing in the domestic violence and civil rights movements, moderated by noted author and professor Beth Richie, Ph.D. Exploring lessons learned from these successful models, the panel will discuss how we can move the community to take on the challenge of effecting change aimed at reducing intimate partner violence in the African American community.
IDVAAC Executive Director Dr. Oliver Williams will lead a plenary session on connecting domestic violence to other social issues in the African-American community, including disparities in health and mental health, overrepresentation in the criminal justice and child welfare systems, and the high rate of HIV/AIDS infection.
A panel discussion on re-examining efforts to address domestic violence in the African-American community will focus on what we’ve learned from past approaches, and what has been missed or left out. The panel includes social critics, grassroots leaders, scholars and advocates as well as victims and formerly abusive men and will be moderated by Dr. Esther Jenkins, professor of psychology at Chicago State University.
Day 2 offers another inspiring agenda, beginning with a plenary/panel discussion on community mobilization models, led by professor and leading gerontologist Linner Ward Griffin, professor and leading scholar in mental health and geriatric issues. This skill-building session will present examples of such efforts at the individual, organizational and community levels.
A number of concurrent workshops take place throughout the morning, exploring the intersection of intimate partner abuse and other social problems, with breakout groups focusing on topics from health, substance abuse and sexual assault to gang and teen dating violence, prisoner reentry, and fatherhood.
Dr. Williams will lead off the afternoon with a presentation and plenary session on the necessary elements of a contract. A discussion on developing and implementing the contract against domestic violence will follow, providing opportunities for participants to connect with other attendees in small groups.
Rounding out the day will be a ceremony with speaker, activist and author Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, providing an opportunity for participants to ponder what they have learned and commit to reducing domestic violence the African-American community.
Be sure to come out and be a part of this pioneering event, where we will strengthen ties, build bridges and make personal commitments toward mobilizing our communities for change. Mark you calendar and stay tuned for details. For more information, visit www.idvaac.org.